Rio de Janeiro

Summer and new arrivals in the Wonderful City

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New additions to the Rio de Janeiro nightlife, culinary arts and fashion scene arrive to coincide with the heat

 

By the ocean, there's a Rio de Janeiro that watches the time pass under the blazing sun, and parties at night in bars and clubs. Far from the beach, the city combines tradition and the avant-garde. A historical, restored Rio lives in the city center, where there is no lack of cultural attractions. What these different cities have in common is that they're all celebrating the coming summer. Indeed, the season seems to have been made for Rio, the way it makes itself at home there. Below, read about the places that promise to be a sensation this summer.

 

South Zone

At the beach Rio, the sun never lets up, and, luckily for those who live there, the sea is always ready and waiting. This summer, they'll be welcomed by a statue of Ukrainian-born, naturalized Brazilian author Clarice Lispector (1920-1977), erected in Leme. Behind her, the sight of Copacabana sprawls out before dazzled tourists. A walk on the promenade leads to a statue of another great literary figure, Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1902-1987), and to neighboring Ipanema, where the most stunning view is found at Espaço 7zero6: all at once, the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, the ocean and the mountains. They serve a delicious brunch on the terrace there, but nothing could steal the scene from nature. “I had never seen such a beautiful landscape,” says Madeleine Schneider, a German travel blogger. “And I've been to 40 countries.” If the heat calls for a dip, make it before or after a pitcher of Spritz by the sea at Azur in Leblon, where chef Pedro de Artagão creates seafood recipes, including moqueca.

 

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The summer nights can be almost as hot as the days, and if the heat doesn't ease up, the best thing is to go back to the beach at night. Arpoador and Ipanema have turned into hangouts for this very idea. But some people would rather have some good food, drink and dance. “The nightlife in Ipanema is reliving its best moments,” says Rodrigo Faria of Nosso, where rum is the star of the drink menu. With a bar, restaurant and rooftop space, the recently opened establishment has a no-frills atmosphere and there's no wait staff uniform. Other surrounding neighborhoods have new arrivals, too. The Blue Note opened its doors by the Lagoon. Identical to the celebrated New York jazz club, the Rio location will be welcoming artists like João Donato and Lenny Andrade. Evidently, intimate concerts are all the rage. At the Jockey Club, Camolese, a club with the same sort of style, will be sharing space with an Italian restaurant, a brewery and a delicatessen. And in Leblon, Oro, run by Michelin-starred chef Felipe Bronze, is debuting a new menu inspired by Lisbon. Everything is served fresh from the grill in the middle of the dining room, including the cod tapioca and the kale ravioli with lentil tutu.

 

Azur Avenida Delfim Moreira, Posto 11, Leblon

NossoRua Maria Quitéria, 91, Praça Nossa Senhora da Paz

CamoleseJockey Club – Rua Jardim Botânico, 983, Jardim Botânico

 

City Center and the Port Zone

Guanabara Bay reemerged in the Port Zone thanks to the implosion of the Perimetral, the elevated expressway that once cut through this area. In its place, the new Praça Mauá and the Olympic Boulevard, legacies of the 2016 Olympic Games. The region is also home to the Museum of Tomorrow, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the Museum of Art of Rio, AquaRio, the biggest aquarium in South America, and the gigantic panel Etnias by the artist Kobra. Culinary arts fairs also occasionally occupy this outdoor space, and there are parties and events held in the port's redesigned warehouses.

 

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A walk through the historical region leads to an important memorial: Valongo Wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an archaeological excavation of the biggest slave port in the Americas. “It's the only tourist attraction with any reference to our African roots,” says Raphael Vidal, director of the nearby Casa Porto, a combination cultural center and bar which hosts shows and excursions at happy hour. Those who venture further into the neighborhood will find other ruins: the old Bhering Factory, occupied by artists and designers and home to shops, studios, a café, bookstores and a terrace that hosts parties at sunset, with an urban atmosphere and mountains in the background. Meanwhile, in the city center, dusk is indescribably beautiful at Xian, a combination Asian restaurant and nightclub. And for good reason: from atop Shopping Bossa Nova, near Santos Dumont Airport, it overlooks Guanabara Bay and the Sugar Loaf Mountain.

 

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Tijuca and São Cristóvão

Far from the ocean is another city where the tradition of samba and bars reigns supreme. Ironically, it’s also here that a creative and innovative Rio is born. The historical neighborhood of São Cristóvão has been establishing its place as a fashion hub, with factories of big brand names – some with outlets. Malha, a warehouse with a fashion school, photography studio, stores, workshops and a restaurant, hosts events on a semi-daily basis. “We are a movement for sustainable, collaborative fashion,” explains founder Herman Blesser. “We're doing something unique, perfect for the creative capital of Latin America, where trends are set.” 

 

XianBossa Nova Mall, Avenida Almirante Silvio de Noronha, 365, Centro

Samba do TrabalhadorRua Barão de São Francisco, 54, Tijuca Bar

MadridRua Almirante Gavião, 11, Tijuca 

 

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Meanwhile, in neighboring Tijuca, the traditions remain. At Renascença, a club for the black community, Samba do Trabalhador has been the nerve center of this resistance for the past 10 years. On Mondays, the place gets packed with crowds who come to see Moacyr Luz and Gabriel da Muda. At night, the fun can continue at some random bar. There are new arrivals there, such as Bar Madrid, which blends the Spanish references of the owners with Rio's bohemian spirit. When it's hot, the best drink is the tinto de verano, made with red wine and soda. “It's a classic from Spain and a big hit here,” guarantees Felipe Quintães. Aspects of a Rio of mixed cities.

 

Hotels

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In addition to changes in the urban landscape, another aspect that radically changed with the Olympic Games is the hotel sector. Among the new arrivals are Hotel Emiliano, at Copacabana Beach, installed in a building designed by Iranian architect Zaha Hadid, which has an infinity edge pool on the terrace overlooking the ocean. Another world famous architect, Philippe Starck, created two new design hotels: Mama Shelter, owned by the Accor Group, installed in old mansions in Santa Teresa and geared toward a younger crowd, and Yoo2 in Botafogo, across from Guanabara Bay. Lastly, after an extensive restoration project, the Meliá Group reinaugurated the Hotel Nacional in São Conrado, designed by Oscar Niemeyer with gardens by Burle Marx.

 

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Letícia Novaes, singer

What makes Rio so great in the summer?

The city takes on an air of delightful laziness, of festivity.

 

An activity for anyone from out of town

Grumari Beach. You won't even feel like you're in the city.

 

An unforgettable excursion

Quinta da Boa Vista

 

João Pedro Zappa, actor

What makes Rio so great in the summer?

The days are beautiful and long, and you can enjoy the nightlife.

 

An activity for anyone from out of town

Praça Mauá, so you can visit the museums and Valongo Wharf.

 

An unforgettable excursion

Praia da Joatinga, a paradise between São Conrado and Barra da Tijuca.

 

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Nathalie Passos and Alberto Landgraf, chefs

What makes Rio so great in the summer?

You get more chances to go diving, enjoy Globo biscuits and drink mate tea on the beach by the gallon.

 

An activity for anyone from out of town

A bar in Urca where you can admire the sunset.

 

An unforgettable excursion

Going up to the Vista Chinesa by bike, stopping at the Horto waterfall.

 

Sharon Azulay, designer

What makes Rio so great in the summer?

Everything gets lighter and unpretentious.

 

An activity for anyone from out of town

Praia da Prainha in the morning, lunch at Bira and dusk at Arpoador.

 

An unforgettable excursion

Hiking up to the Christ statue.

 

LATAM has direct flights to Rio de Janeiro from Santiago, Lima, Buenos Aires and 23 other destinations.